Arsenal will welcome Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk to the Emirates this evening as boss Arsene Wenger looks to show North London rivals Tottenham that consistency is key in the Champions League.
While the Gunners seemingly haven’t set the world alight in the first two games in the competition, two solid wins, conceding just one goal in the process, has left them in prime position to get out of the group as winners should they overcome Shakhtar this evening.
One problem the Frenchman will have to contend with is the return of former star Eduardo to the Emirates for the first time since his £6 million move to the Ukrainian club last season. While the Croatian’s time at the club wasn’t as fruitful as many had originally hoped, with just 8 goals in 41 appearances, Arsenal and boss Wenger will be aware of the potential danger the 27 year old could cause and will look to keep him quiet all evening.
While many see Arsenal as the top Champions League team in North London, Spurs have given a very strong account of themselves so far this campaign in what is there first ever endeavour into the competition. Unbeaten in their first two games with a draw away to German side Werder Bremen and a victory at home to FC Twente last time out, Tottenham are showing that they have all the required tools to hold their own against some of Europe’s big names.
However, should boss Harry Redknapp look to follow rivals Arsenal and secure top spot in their group, then the White Hart Lane club are going to have to look to get something from their tricky tie away to Inter Milan tomorrow evening. There is no doubt that a trip to the legendary San Siro will be a memorable occasion for the Spurs players and fans alike, but if the club are to come away from the tie with anything then Redknapp must ensure that his players hit the ground running from the very first minute.
Tottenham have a number of great players with the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Tom Huddlestone on giving good accounts of themselves so far this season, but the loss of star man Rafael Van Der Vaart due to suspension could prove to be a vital loss as the night unfolds.
The Dutch international has been the stand out performer so far this season since his move from Spanish side Real Madrid in the summer and his loss is one that will be sorely missed. However, this opens up the door for Spurs many other bright and talented stars to enhance their own reputation in world football by performing on club football’s biggest stage.
While Inter boss Rafa Benitez has suffered an indifferent start to his career at the San Siro, there is no doubt that he will have his players ready for battle as he looks to get one over on his former Premier League rival Harry Redknapp.
Should Spurs manager to come away with three points tomorrow evening, it could signal a turn in the tide in North London as Tottenham prove they can hold their own against the European super powers and demonstrate to Arsenal that they are potentially no longer at the top of the pile.
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